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Boeing To Lead Flight Deck Mods For Southwest's 737 Fleet

Classic Models To Be Retrofitted With NextGen Avionics

Boeing has been selected by Southwest Airlines as the lead integrator for the airline's 737-300/-700 flight deck upgrade to incorporate advanced performance-based navigation capabilities. Boeing's role will include design, installation and integration of new hardware and software from multiple suppliers, as well as flight testing and certification.

Under this large-scale integration program, the airline's 737-300s will be modified with new and enhanced avionics supplied by GE Aviation, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins. Boeing will oversee integration of twin 15.4-inch General Electric SDS-6000 glass displays, which enable Required Navigation Performance (RNP) -- a navigation technology that enables an aircraft to operate within a tight corridor of airspace with Global Positioning System guidance.

With the upgrade, most of Southwest's Classic 737s will more closely align the 737-300 and 737-700 flight decks, creating commonality, and allowing the 737-300 to operate in the same preferred airspace as the newer 737-700s.

The 737-300 enhancements will also position Southwest for additional features, currently under development, that will support future airspace requirements. TheRNP enhancements will help the airline reduce fuel consumption, enhance safety and situational awareness, and minimize aircraft emissions and noise resulting in improved efficiency and reduced costs.

"Southwest is a great airline and partner and we're proud to support in their initiatives toward more efficient operations," said Kevin Schemm, vice president, North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Boeing is committed to working with our customers to introduce environmentally progressive lifecycle solutions."

"This upgrade program will enhance safety, situational awareness, and fuel efficiency, and it will allow greater training flexibility due to flight deck commonality," said Chuck Magill, vice president of Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines. "But the bottom line is that our customers will benefit from better performance and continued low fares."

This isn't the first time Boeing has partnered with Southwest on an avionics project. As the launch customer for the 737-700, Southwest reached an efficient solution early in that plane's development to the question of how to cross-train crews between Classic and NextGen aircraft. The glass panel cockpit in the -700 may be configured to emulate the "steam gauges" seen in -300 cockpits, allowing both types to be flown by Southwest pilots under a common type-rating.

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.southwest.com

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